HAVANA, Cuba – A score of objects offered to the Cuban-Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara was placed on display for the first time as part of an exhibition inaugurated on Sunday, the date of his 87th birthday, at the mausoleum where he is buried in Cuba.
The exhibit “Never so alive” is part of a program to celebrate the 87th anniversary of his birth, said Maira Romero, director of the Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara, 270 km east of Havana.
Celia and Ernesto Guevara March, two of Che Guevara’s four children with Aleida March, attended the inauguration of the exhibit, which is showcasing 23 of more than 900 objects that people from different countries have brought as offerings to the legendary guerrilla fighter since the memorial opened its doors in 1997. The memorial includes a mausoleum, a plaza and a museum, and it is one of Cuba’s most visited sites.
Among the objects included in the “Tribute” collection, there is a red flower sent by a friend of María del Carmen Ferreyra (Chichina Ferreyra), Guevara’s first official girlfriend, and a silver vase offered by Bolivian Lena Vicente, daughter of Casildo Condori, known as “Victor” in Guevara’s guerrilla in Bolivia.
Other objects include 10 flags, one of them representing the struggle of “the disappeared” in Rosario during the last dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983), made by Argentinean artist Fernando Traverso, and a handkerchief from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo donated by their president, Hebe de Bonafini.
“Throughout the years many people have paid homage to him in a very special way, by bringing, as a sign of admiration and respect, poems, songs, letters, flowers, flags, personal items, medals, children’s drawings, oil paintings, candles,” Romero said.
The tribute to Guevara this month included lectures and conferences about his life and works, as well as other exhibitions throughout the island.
Guevera was born in Rosario in 1928, and along with Fidel Castro, he participated in the guerrilla war in the Sierra Maestra, on the east side of the island, where he became a commanding officer. After the revolution’s triumph in 1959, he held different positions in the Cuban government, among them, he was president of the Central Bank.
Guevara was murdered on October 9, 1967 in Bolivia, a day after getting caught by the Army. After his death, the guerrilla team he led in this country disappeared.